Audi Q8 e-tron Dakar Edition revealed abroad as Audi SA mulls local EV strategy

Published Jan 4, 2024


As Team Audi Sport prepares to face the world’s toughest rally for the third time with its RS Q e-tron prototype, the German company is also giving some Dakar inspiration to its Q8 e-tron road car.

The new Audi Q8 e-tron edition Dakar, revealed ahead of the Dakar Rally, features a 31mm-higher ride height (which automatically lowers as the car reaches higher speeds) as well as General Grabber AT3 all-terrain tyres.

A limited number of the edition models will be available with a unique decal package inspired by the aforementioned rally car.

The car also comes with puddle lights that project the words “edition Dakar” onto the streets.

Being based on the Audi Q8 55 e-tron quattro, power comes from a dual-motor all-wheel drive system with 300kW, and the 114 kWh battery allows a claimed WLTP range of up to 487km.

While the new Q8 e-tron edition will be available in Europe from the first quarter of 2024, it has yet to be confirmed for the South African market. We will however be getting a glut of special edition A3, Q3, A4, A5 and Q5 models during the course of this year - read more about them here.

The all-electric Audi Q8 e-tron, along with its smaller Q6 e-tron sibling, are currently under consideration for South African introduction later in 2024.

At a year-end function in December 2023, Audi SA CEO Sascha Sauer told media representatives that the local division was looking at furthering its inroads into the local EV sector with the aforementioned products, but reiterated that government needs to come to the party with a more favourable taxation scheme.

“We were expecting more favourable announcements recently, and for a long while to say the least,” Sauer said. “And we definitely need clarity, transparency and a more favourable trading environment, and first and foremost a reduction in duties.”

This would of course allow Audi to price its electric cars more competitively on the local market, the CEO said.

“So we really need that announcement and we’re looking forward to the budget speech in February next year,” Sauer concluded.

In late November South Africa’s Cabinet approved the country’s White Paper on Electric Vehicles, but it focuses more on securing local production of EVs while delaying purchasing incentives until the power crisis is under control. Read more about the White Paper here.

Audi’s other plans for 2024

Audi currently markets the e-tron and e-tron Sportback SUV models in South Africa, which are effectively pre-facelift versions of the aforementioned Q8 e-tron, as well as the Audi RS e-tron GT sports sedan.

Audi’s international EV portfolio also includes the smaller MEB-based Q4 e-tron crossover, but limited international production numbers are apparently making it hard to introduce locally.

On the internal combustion front Audi South Africa’s plans for 2024, apart from the aforementioned Black and Urban special editions, includes facelifted versions of the A3, RS 3, Q7 and Q8 models.

IOL Motoring